You Fell? Please Call 9-1-1   

Photo courtesy Berkeley EMS

One of the most common calls we get is for a “Fall” or a “Lift Assist.” We take these calls seriously. Whether you are hurt or just need help to get up, there is no need to apologize. Please don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. Don’t wait for hours trying to get yourself or your partner up. This happens. We understand. We are all in or near the same boat.

One day, after being on the floor, helping a patient, one of our members looked at me and said, “I need a lift assist.” I was sorry when she said she just couldn’t do this anymore but we are all going to get there. The point is – don’t feel bad about calling us.

There are some ways to decrease falls. If you have walker or cane, use it. You have some of those beautiful small decorative rugs? Get rid of them. For us, they make better wall hangings. Sturdy slippers with backs may not win you the glamour queen/king award but they may keep you from falling. And, replace them if they are old. Socks are cozy and warm but they are slippery on wood and tile floors. As we get older we tend to “shuffle.” Pick up your feet especially on your carpeting. Not only won’t you trip on the carpet’s pile but you will increase the muscle tone of your thighs from the exercise. If you have weakness in your thighs, try walking like Groucho Marx. No? Really! Hold on when you first start doing it. If you don’t fall down laughing at yourself, it increases muscle and balance. If you peep in my window, you can see me walking like that around my house. I learned about this in physical therapy. The doctor told me I didn’t need a knee replacement. I needed to restore the muscles above my knees. What a relief!

If you have fallen because you didn’t listen to me and still have those scatter rugs, or slipped on a wet floor, call us. If are not hurt, we’ll help you up and we won’t breathe a word to your neighbors. If you hit your head we will help you up and suggest you let us take you to the hospital. You never know if a bump on the head is serious, especially if you take blood thinners and some other types of medications. If you have cuts and abrasions, we will bandage you. If you fell because you were dizzy or passed out, the reason for the fall could be more serious than the fall. We’ll ask you a bunch of questions to get an idea of what that might be and we will suggest you let us bring you to the hospital.

If you fall frequently because of weakness in your muscles or joints, you may want to consider having someone to help you on a regular basis, like a home health aide. You can find an aide to come around regularly or a live in if that is necessary. It would be up to you.

If you live lone, you might want to consider an alert button to wear around your neck or carry your cell phone everywhere. If you have a garage door code (don’t lock the door to the garage) or a front door code (don’t lock the screen door), you can give it to the police. The police and the EMS ambulance will receive it when called to your house. It prevents us from having to break-in, in order to help you.

We are the busiest squad in Ocean County, answering as many as 10-14 calls a day, sometimes more. We need more volunteers. There is no free EMS without volunteers. We really do appreciate your financial contributions each year, but if you want to keep us going, consider joining our EMS squad. No experience necessary! You’ll be CPR certified, and get regular training, a uniform and some experience. HCBEMS needs you!

Don’t forget to recycle newspapers and magazines, phone books and aluminum cans at the recycling center behind HCBEMS building.

Stay well and on your feet!

Phyllis Brown
Holiday City at Berkeley EMS


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